United Way’s VITA Program Offers Free Tax Assistance to Washington Parish Residents

Published 12:11 pm Thursday, January 25, 2024

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BOGALUSA, La. – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has joined forces with Entergy Corporation, the Asset Building Coalition, and Capital One to offer essential tax assistance to residents of Washington Parish through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The initiative is geared towards providing free, in-person, and virtual tax preparation services to low- to moderate-income individuals, including persons with disabilities, older adults, and limited English-speaking taxpayers.

IRS-certified volunteers will provide complimentary basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing for qualified individuals earning $63,398 or less annually. These volunteers will assess eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other refundable credits, ensuring accurate and cost-free filing.

“EITC is a tax benefit for working people and their families, allowing more dollars to flow into our community,” emphasized Michael Williamson, President and CEO of UWSELA. “If you qualify for the EITC, you must file a tax return to claim the credit, even if you have no taxes to pay. You earned it. Now file, claim it, and get it.”

The VITA sites aim to optimize households’ access to eligible credits and refunds, promoting financial stability. In 2023, the VITA program facilitated the return of over $9.1 million to residents of Southeast Louisiana.

Residents of Washington Parish can access free tax preparation assistance at 18 conveniently located VITA sites, both in-person and virtual, until April 15. Details of these sites can be found at UnitedWaySELA.org/VITA.

The Bogalusa United Way Prosperity Center, located at 432 Avenue U and reachable by phone at 985-244-6588, will host an on-site tax event on Feb. 3, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., providing an additional opportunity for residents to receive assistance.

For individuals seeking an online option, MyFreeTaxes.com offers free federal and state tax preparation without income limits for individuals or families. This platform, the only free, national, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit, has been extended to over 100 million U.S. taxpayers as part of United Way’s commitment to financial stability.

“This tax season, United Way’s focus is on ensuring the public saves their hard-earned dollars with free, expert tax preparation services,” added Williamson. “Let’s make sure every dollar stays where it belongs – in the pockets of those who need it most.”

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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